If You're a Single Parent Dating in 2019, Please Read This.

Diving back into the dating world as a single parent can feel daunting—especially if you've been out of the dating scene for awhile. It's common to worry about things like rejection, how your kids will react to a new partner, or whether you're even ready to have someone new come into your family's life.

Deb Laino, DHS, a Delaware-based relationship therapist and certified sex educator, says questions like What do I do with my kids? When do I introduce my kids? When do I have sex? Do I want to be in a relationship again? are totally normal, too.

Because of this, "the idea of 'getting back in the game' can be tough," says Les Parrott, Ph.D., psychologist and founder of BetterLove.com. "If that means taking your time, so be it. If that means getting some counseling or coaching first, do it. The toughest part is simply starting."

So when is the right time to start? Ahead, Laino, Parrott, and more experts answer this plus nine more tips that will help you date again as the awesome single parent that you are:

1. Wait a year.

Your best bet—for yourself and for your children—is waiting a calendar year after the end of your previous relationship to re-enter the dating scene. "After divorce, people can feel a little lost," says Laino. By getting involved in things that interest you, you're enabling yourself to find things that bring you joy on your own time. And who knows? You might even meet someone who shares those same interests.

2. Confront your own issues.

Especially if you're coming out of an unhealthy relationship, it's important to unpack what went wrong, how it may have affected you, and even how you may have contributed to the problem, says Laino. Otherwise, you'll just carry those issues with you into your next relationship, and it'll likely cause the same tension and stress.

So, if you struggled with communication in your past relationship, take your year off dating to work on connecting with others and vocalizing what's on your mind. If body image is an underlying issue for you, take steps to improve your own feelings of self-worth. It's also not a bad idea to bring a therapist on board, especially if you struggle with self-reflection, says Laino.

3. Let go of guilt.

When you first start dating as a single parent, you may wonder how your children will feel about you spending time with someone new, or not being home as much. These feelings are all normal, but you can't let 'em hold you back.

"You'll probably have some inner conflict—a desire to date and begin a new life with someone while simultaneously feeling some guilt or worry about the effects of dating on the children," says Paul Coleman, PsyD, a psychologist and author of Finding Peace When Your Heart Is in Pieces. "The mistake is ping-ponging between those emotions as you try to justify dating on the one hand while worrying or feeling guilty on the other."

Accept that your family life will, at times, be disrupted when you begin to date.

How to avoid this ping-ponging: Accept that your family life will, at times, be disrupted when you begin to date. That's not necessarily a bad thing, especially if a positive addition is coming into your life.

4. Know what you want.

Before you even start meeting up with people, decide what exactly it is you're looking for in a new partner. Start with what matters most to you—your values, for example, says Parrott. Then, write them down.

"Make a list of deal-makers and deal-breakers," says Parrott. "Ten each. It may sound silly, but it works because you can then tell right away if a person is worth pursuing. Don't rely on your feelings alone."

One thing that should definitely make the list? Tolerance. "They need to have a higher level of patience because sometimes it takes that when you have kids," says Laino.

5. Give online dating a chance.

As a single parent, odds are you're spending most of your free time running the kids to basketball practices and recitals—not hitting up the local bar. That's why online dating could be a great place to start as you re-emerge into the dating world.

The first thing to know: "Choose a reputable dating site, and don't be afraid to pay for it," says Parrott. Match.com and eHarmony are typically good bets for finding a real relationship — especially since they're active with single parents, says Laino. Popular apps like Bumble and Hinge have become more common for dating, too.

Once you've signed up, fill out the basics in your profile, upload a few recent pictures, and ask a friend to review it and give you constructive feedback, says Parrott. Once you get the green light, start looking for matches, and do so regularly.

"That means checking in at least every couple of days to see what kind of people are reaching out," says Parrot. And if you do find someone worth meeting? Do so publicly, and always let a friend know what you're doing. Just in case.

6. Be transparent with your kids.

The anxiety of how your kids will react to you dating again is very real. But once again, it's important to not let that fear cripple you from ever leaving the house without them.

"Keep the communication channels open," says Parrott. "That means chatting with your kids (at the appropriate age level) to let them know what you're doing. Don't keep it a secret for fear they will feel weird about it. Allow them to talk about their feelings."

It's also a good idea, especially if your kids are young, to explain to them what exactly dating is. Tell them that as adults, it's normal to meet someone and become friends for awhile. Sometimes it works out, other times it doesn't, and it's not a bad thing either way. "That's really important, just in case it doesn't work out," says Laino.

7. Be upfront that you're a parent.

You don't have to share your whole life story on the first date, but when it comes to you being a mom or dad, the earlier you let your date know, the better. Laino brings up a good point: "What if you're on a date and you have to leave because something happened to your kid?" she says.

If you do need to take a call or cut the night short, know that as a single mom or dad—especially if you're dating someone who doesn't have kids—it's completely okay to put your children first. The right new partner will completely respect that fact and be happy to be involved with your children as well, says Coleman.

8. Be thoughtful about introducing someone to your kids.

You want to make sure everyone is ready, and this starts with your kids. "Once the two of you are getting serious, your kids will know and, ideally, they'll ask to meet your partner," says Parrott. "If they don't, hint about the idea and make it a mutual decision with you and your children."

The same goes for your partner. "Wait until it seems like the relationship is on solid footing, that a commitment is desired, that there is genuine love," says Coleman. "Otherwise, you run the risk of the kids growing attached to someone who eventually leaves because the relationship was not strong enough to begin with."

9. Name any challenges upfront.

Once you plan to introduce a new partner to your kids, be honest about your children's habits and personalities. "If there are any problems brewing (acting out, poor school performance, and so on), state them clearly," says Coleman.

After all, if this person becomes a more permanent fixture in your and your children's lives, they'll take on an authoritative role with your children, which means you both need to be on the same page about the struggles the children are facing and how you as their parent choose to discipline them. That way, the new partner can follow those boundaries.

10. Never, ever settle!

...one more time in case you were distracted: DON'T. SETTLE. "You're not less desirable because you are older or have children," says Coleman. "A mature person won't let those things interfere with really getting to know you and perhaps fall in love."

This starts on date one with a potential new partner. Remember those behaviors you would let roll off your back when dating as a 20-something, like a date picking you up late or constantly checking their phone at the dinner table? Those shouldn't fly as a single parent.

"If somebody doesn't respect you, I think that's an absolute big red flag, and it's likely not going to change," says Laino. Look for things early on that signal disrespect, like showing up late, telling you how to parent your kids, or not listening to you while you speak.


Bottom line: Like dating during any other part of your life, dating as a single parent will have its ups and downs.

When you do meet someone great, it still won't be perfect—and that's okay. "It typically takes a long time for kids to get in sync with you and a new partner," says Parrott. The road might feel bumpy at first, but once you do find balance, it will absolutely feel worth it—for both you and your family.

Brielle Gregory previously worked at Men's Health magazine, where she reported, edited, and fact checked all things health, nutrition, and weight loss related; she currently spends her time digging into similar topics as a freelancer writer and editor.

That was If You're a Single Parent Dating in 2019, Please Read This.

That Was If You're a Single Parent Dating in 2019, Please Read This., Hopefully it's useful and you like it.

You are reading If You're a Single Parent Dating in 2019, Please Read This.,Url address: https://www.dwibcc.org/2019/04/if-you-single-parent-dating-in-2019.html

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